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It’s a gorgeous day and I must get out and enjoy it! But I’ve fallen woefully behind with my blogging, so here goes.

On Saturday I did some errands, then headed over to Place des Vosges, which is just a few blocks away. It was chilly, but lovely nevertheless.

Place des Voges on a Sunny Saturday.

Place des Vosges on a Sunny Saturday.

My ultimate destination was the Grand Marché d’Art Contemporain 2014 à la Bastille. It was much larger than I expected, with more than 500 artists! Most were terrible (imho), but as usual I found a few that I really liked. It was a pleasure to carry on conversations with them, almost always in French! And in most cases the artist agreed to pose with some of his or her works. The full photo set is at Art and Artists, and here are a few of my favorites.

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Photographer Robert Rousseau. http://robert-r-rousseau.com

Nicole Jacobs de Choulot and Aude Goalec de Choulot. http://nicoleetaude.com

Nicole Jacobs de Choulot and Aude Goalec de Choulot. http://nicoleetaude.com

That evening I indulged in a walk down memory lane, visiting the neighborhood of each of my prior apartments. I had a beer at L’Open Café for old time’s sake. It solitary except for a handsome bar back who let me take his photo (despite falsely claiming to be ugly).

A barback at L'Open Café distributing candles.

A barback at L’Open Café distributing candles.

Abandoning myself to nostalgia, I had dinner at Le Loup Blanc (which closed in 2014), where I ate on the first evening of my first petit séjour, in 2010. The gay waiter I like was still there — as handsome, slim and diffident as ever. The salmon was even better than I remembered!

Salmon dinner at Le Loup Blanc.

Salmon dinner at Le Loup Blanc.

Then I hopped on a Vélib’ and rode over to Le Duplex, one of my favorites among Paris’s many gay bars. It was busy, as expected with a diverse and genial crowd. At first I just looked around, and eavesdropped on the animated conversation of two forty-something neighbors. Eventually someone broke the ice and the three of us had a friendly and interesting conversation. (The weren’t a couple — the suggestion horrified them! — but they had dated for about a week ten years ago.) A bit later on I spotted Lisa’s Geoff across the crowded room; he stopped by to say hello but was busy with a group of friends. I’m sure we’ll catch up again later in my stay.

I’ve fallen in love with my new neighborhood, and the virtues of this year’s apartment are growing on me, despite a few maintenance issues that I hope to persuade the owners to take care of. Do you think I should take a series of photos out my windows along the lines of Monet’s haystacks?

Update: Here’s my Photo Set of Views Across rue François-Miron.

I got a bit of a late start on Sunday, then took a walk — to the Haut Marais, Place de la République, then Canal Saint-Martin. I had a quite good brunch at Chez Prune. I love the location and ambience but I really must remember how unfriendly the service is. Then I climbed up to the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont to make my first pilgrimage of the year to Rosa Bonheur. It was busy at 2:30 but the only line was to order since the barriers weren’t yet up. I was alone at first — is a pattern emerging? — then I met a group of super-sweet Spanish guys who were visiting a French friend for a few days.

New Friends at Rosa Bonheur.
New Friends at Rosa Bonheur.

We had a lovely conversation, “code switching” among Spanish, French, Catalan and English. I joined them for dancing afterwards, but eventually I excused myself, sated — for the moment — with the magic of Rosa Bonheur!

Rosa Bonheur on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.
Rosa Bonheur on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

I finished the gentle evening with an unassuming but pleasant meal at Bodega 64, just across the street from my apartment.

Mot du jour: moche. Ugly, horrible, tacky, trashy, terrible, etc. etc. Typically used, in my experience, by people falsely denigrating their own good looks.